Angela Meade, Beverly Sills Artist Award
Soprano Angela Meade has been named the recipient of the seventh annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera. The $50,000 award, the largest of its kind in the United States, is designated for extraordinarily gifted singers between the ages of 25 and 40 who have already appeared in featured solo roles at the Met. The award, in honor of Beverly Sills, was established in 2006 by an endowment gift from Agnes Varis, a managing director on the Met board, and her husband, Karl Leichtman. Meade was presented with the award at the Met today by Muffy Greenough, daughter of Beverly Sills.
The Sills Award was created to help further recipients’ careers, including funding for voice lessons, vocal coaching, language lessons, related travel costs, and other professional assistance. Sills, who died in 2007, was well known as a supporter and friend to developing young artists, and this award continues her legacy as an advocate for rising singers. The 34-year-old Meade is the seventh recipient of the award, following baritone Nathan Gunn in 2006, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in 2007, tenor Matthew Polenzani in 2008, bass John Relyea in 2009, soprano Susanna Phillips in 2010, and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard in 2011.
“I am so deeply honored to be the recipient of the Beverly Sills award,” Meade said. “I would have loved to have met Ms. Sills. We share much of the same repertoire and her interpretations of Norma, Anna Bolena, Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux, Cleopatra and Violetta have been an inspiration to me. I am greatly humbled and realize what an immense responsibility it will be to carry on the legacy Ms. Sills achieved. Her artistry has been something that young singers aspire to attain. I offer heartfelt thanks to the Metropolitan Opera and the Agnes Varis trust, in memory of Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman."
Meade made her Met debut in 2008 as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani, a role she repeats this season in a revival opening February 2. She has also sung the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (2009), and earlier this season, the showpiece title role in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. Her 2007 win in the Met’s National Council Auditions was documented in Susan Froemke’s acclaimed film The Audition. In summer 2010, she achieved widespread acclaim for her performance in the notoriously challenging title role of Bellini’s Norma at the Caramoor Festival, and in summer 2011, she was a featured soloist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series. She performed the title role in Mercadante’s Virginia at the Wexford Festival and the title role in Rossini’s Semiramide with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Caramoor, and has sung concert engagements with many orchestras, including the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Seattle Symphony.